ICES 2002

IEEE Standard for Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, 0–3 kHz

The International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) is a committee under the sponsorship of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a USA-based organisation (it is also known as IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 28).  It develops different standards for different frequency ranges which are published as IEEE standards.  IEEE C95.6 covers 0 to 3 kHz and therefore includes power frequencies.

This standard is based on the same body of evidence as ICNIRP but derives the numerical exposure values from the underlying science in a more detailed way.  One consequence of that is that whereas ICNIRP has "round number" limits - 10 mA/m2, 2 mA/m2 - ICES does not.

ICES has not been adopted by any country that we are aware of.

Basic restrictions

ICES sets basic restrictions on the in-situ induced electric field, instead of the induced current density that ICNIRP uses.  These two quantities are closely related but the in-situ electric field is probably the more physically relevant. More on induced fields and currents in the body.

Part of bodyLimit for controlled exposuresLimit for public exposures

50 Hz

60 Hz

50 Hz

60 Hz

44.3 mV m-1

53.1 mV m-1

14.7 mV m-1

17.7 mV m-1


0.943 V m-1

0.943 V m-1

Hands, wrists, feet, ankles

2.10 V m-1

2.10 V m-1


2.10 V m-1

0.701 V m-1


Magnetic fields

ICES gives "maximum permissible exposures" (MPE) which are derived from the basic restriction.

Part of bodyControlled exposurePublic exposure
Head and torso

2.71 mT

904 μT

Arms and legs

50 Hz

60 Hz

50 Hz

60 Hz

75.8 mT

63.2 mT

75.8 mT

63.2 mT

It states "The MPE for magnetic field exposure in this standard may be exceeded if it can be demonstrated that the basic restrictions are not exceeded."

Electric fields

In ICES, the electric field Maximum Permissible Exposures are derived from consideration of indirect effects - e.g. microshocks - and not from the basic restrictions.

Controlled exposurePublic exposure
in reach of grounded conducting object

20 kV m-1

in general

5 kV m-1

not in reach of grounded conducting object

"may be acceptable to exceed" 20 kV m-1

in power line right-of-way (normal load conditions)

10 kV m-1

Where values are different at 50 Hz and 60 Hz, we give both.  If we give only one value it is the same at both frequencies.  More on the different values at 50 and 60 Hz.

Possible long-term effects

Like ICNIRP, ICES is based on preventing established, short-term effects of EMFs on the body.  The standard states:

"Established human mechanisms fall within the category of short-term effects. Such effects are understood in terms of recognized interaction mechanisms. Exposure limits defined in this standard are not based on the potential effects of long-term exposure because:
a) There is not sufficient, reliable evidence to conclude that long-term exposures to electric and magnetic fields at levels found in communities or occupational environments are adverse to human health or cause a disease, including cancer.
b) There is no confirmed mechanism that would provide a firm basis to predict adverse effects from low-level, long-term exposure."

The values at other frequencies

We concentrate on this site in general and this page in particular on the limits at power frequencies.  But ICES covers a range of frequencies.  The following graphs show the Maximum Permissible Exposures from 0.1 Hz to 100 kHz (solid lines are occupational, dotted lines public; dark blue is whole body, light blue is limbs only).  See also an interactive comparison of ICNIRP 1998, ICNIRP 2010 and ICES across a range of frequencies.

graph of ICES limits versus frequency

graph of ICES limits versius frequency

Document numbering

The "C95" series of standards comprises:

  • IEEE C95.1™-2005 – Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, 3 kHz to 300 GHz
  • IEEE C95.3™-2002 – Measurements & Computations of Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields with Respect to Human Exposure to Such Fields, 100 kHz-300 GHz
  • IEEE C95.3.1™-2010 – Measurements & Computations of Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields with Respect to Human Exposure to Such Fields, 0 Hz to 100 kHz
  • IEEE C95.6™-2002 – Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, 0-3 kHz
  • IEEE C95.7™-2005 - Radio Frequency Safety Programs - 3 kHz to 300 GHz

The standard we detail on this page is C95.6.